GO
Loading...

State of the Union Reaction: Gun Sales Still Strong

The day after President Barack Obama's emotional plea in his State of the Union message for a "vote" on new gun control measures, it is business as usual at the Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Va. The post-Sandy Hook boom in gun sales and even ammunition continues.

Earl Curtis, Blue Ridge's president and owner, said law abiding gun owners are buying weapons that they fear might be banned; at the top of the list the AR-15 rifle and the Glock 22 handgun.

However, he's having trouble getting guns to sell.

"Usually we would get anywhere from 10 to 20 guns a week as far as ARs," he said. "Now we get about one or probably one a week if we're lucky."

(Read More: The Most Wanted Gun in America.)

Getty Images

The phenomenon of busy gun shops is born out by record FBI data on background checks required for gun purchases, the best barometer of gun sales which increased to record levels over the last two months.

Leading up to and after the Dec. 14 tragedy in Newtown, Conn., checks were hitting all-time highs. Background checks in December topped 2.78 million, an all-time record, and January came in at just under 2.5 million—-the second highest month ever and a million more than any previous January.

(Read More: Gun Control and Gun Sales.)

Last fall, before the Newtown tragedy, Smith & Wesson reported a record $136 million in sales, a 48 percent increase from a year ago. Sturm Ruger's sales topped $118 million, a 50 percent increase.

(Read More: Obama Gun Control Plan Faces Tough Road in Congress.)

Analysts are forecasting more record earnings for the largest publicly traded gun makers when they report earnings in the next few weeks,

"I see a win-win for the stocks, even if they did come up with more restrictive legislation … I don't see them completely banning weapons or completely banning the ability to buy them and again lighting that much of a fire for people who already own guns to buy more of them," said Randy Cloud, president of Cloud Capital LLC, which holds shares in gun makers. "An unsettled political turmoil may ultimately be better for SWHC and RGR than if there were no political threats."

(Read More: The Sandy Hook Effect: Gun Sales Rise as Stocks Fall.)

However, manufactures will have to find the balance between figuring out how long the current increased demand will last and the political headwinds, Cloud said. No one wants to get stuck with excess inventory of potentially banned weapons or accessories.

-By CNBC's Hampton Pearson

-CNBC's Stephanie Dhue contributed to this report

Contact Politics

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More